Franklin Park Arts Center Manager Elizabeth Bracey scored a coup that could help area organizations better get their message out.
The National Arts Marketing Project will come to Franklin Park on Wednesday, March 30, to hold a day-long seminar on how arts groups and nonprofits can better market their programs.
“I found out about one of these conferences that National Arts Marketing Project does last November in Salt Lake City,” Bracey said. However, there was no way the Franklin Park Arts Center’s training budget could cover her trip there. So, she looked at the organization’s website and found it conducted workshops at locations outside their annual conferences.
“I thought, ‘how could we get one, how could we get them to come here,’” Bracey said in a recent interview. The fee was pretty hefty—$3,000—so Bracey approached the Friends of Franklin Park board of directors, whose members immediately stepped up to pay for it.
Treasurer John Pendola said the organization is gaining momentum, noting the success of the pioneering Gold Star performances program, started by former board President Bettina Gregory, as well as the expanded offerings introduced by Bracey.
“We wanted to do a bit more than very small local performances,” he said.
“There was not a single dissenting vote,” Pendola said of the board’s reaction to Bracey’s request. Anything that could support the arts center in helping bring the arts to Loudoun was a “no brainer,” Pendola said.
“I said, ‘we’ll do it.’” From the board’s perspective the $3,000 would be a small investment, Pendola said, noting that a large musical performance costs around $12,000.
For Bracey, the workshop will provide an opportunity for Loudoun arts groups to network with others from around the region. Attendees so far include representatives from the Loudoun Lyric Theatre, Main Street Theatre, Loudoun YouthFest, Old Dominion University Theatre, high school drama departments, Ford Theatre in Washington, DC, Ballet NOVA, the Weinberg Center and Luray Theatre.
“That’s exactly what we’d hoped for,” she said. “It’s everything we’ve been trying to do—knowing who’s your audience, how to engage them, retain them and diversify, and how to use social media more effectively. We all have the same issues, it’s a lot about how to do these kinds of things with not a lot of money.”
The county has wonderful performing arts groups, Bracey said, adding, “I hate it when they don’t sell out.”
She hopes the workshop will provide answers. The workshop presenter is Anneliese DeDiemar, director of marketing and communications at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD.
Cost of the workshop is $50 and includes lunch. It will be held in the auditorium at the Franklin Park Arts Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There also will be some break-out sessions.
The National Arts Marketing Project is a program of Americans for the Arts, a national arts advocacy group based in New York City.
To register, go to franklinparkartscenter.org.